Rice Pudding with Strawberries
A stove-top rice pudding is a tiny bit more effort than one baked in the oven, but you do end up with a pure-white and deceptively luxurious result, which is a wonderful contrast to warm, soft strawberries and their ruby-red syrup.
For the strawberry conserve
Make the creamed rice
Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water draining through begins to clear, 30 to 60 seconds. Dump the grains into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the milk, vanilla pod and seeds, orange zest, and salt, set over medium heat and warm to a simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice is not sticking. Once simmering, reduce the heat to as low as possible. Place a lid on top, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring at first occasionally, then over the last 5 minutes relatively frequently as the ratio of liquid to rice reduces. Remove from the heat.
Taste the rice. It should be almost cooked through, but still with a slight bite, and there should be a fair amount of liquid remaining, with the grains almost swimming rather than clumping together. If not, add enough milk to loosen.
Remove the orange zest and vanilla pod, stir in the sugar. Leave the rice to sit and swell further for 10 minutes with the lid on-–returning a couple of times to give it a quick stir.
Make the strawberry conserve
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the strawberries and sugar, mix to coat berries. Warm until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the strawberries leach a syrupy liquid and are softening but are still bright red and intact, about 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Once the rice has finished resting, it should be soft and luscious, but a little stiff. Add a scant 2/3 cup of cream and stir-–this should ensure that once decanted the rice flows, rather than stands stiffly. Add a dash more cream if necessary (if it seems like a lot more is needed, then add extra milk).
Serve in shallow bowls, topped with the strawberry conserve.
*What kind of rice should I use for rice pudding?
Rice pudding works best with starchy rice, like arborio or carnaroli rice which are both used for risotto. Risotto is, if you think about it, a savory rice pudding so it stands to reason that it works just as well in a sweet version.
In some places, you can buy a specific version of short-grained rice that's marketed specifically for pudding. There are lots of recipes that use long-grained rice but the outcome won't be as rich or toothsome.